Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Child, et al., 50th Anniversary

If you are one to enjoy cooking at home and love taking your time to perfect a recipe, or desire to be like the stated individual, we cannot recommend Julia Child’s book enough.  This is the quintessential guide to French style cuisine from sauces and soups all the way to soufflés (and everything in between).

This is in no way a complete recipe encyclopedia, but what you’ll find is a guide (complete with illustrations where necessary) for the techniques of French cuisine clearly described for the (aspiring) home chef, as well as, essential recipes for you to allow your creativity to build upon.

There is a huge piece of history in this book as well.  It was originally written in the late 50’s and offers a window into the American dietary and cooking mind and marks a turn for our society with regards to finer cuisine.  Before the original publication (1961), you were able to find extensive French recipe literature, yet without a proper French training or education, they became useless in the American psyche. Childs, et al. decidedly changed all of that with this publication’s detailed approach and visual teachings (alongside her PBS program, that spread like wild fire, “The French Chef”).  With the 50th anniversary edition, not much has changed save the inclusion of the food processor (not available at the time of the original publication) and the measurements being updated to modern measuring – it should also be stated here that Child even goes into such great detail about how to properly measure flour; a process many people to this day still get wrong.

Wine finds a place in her heart and her writings here too.  This acts as a goldmine for the uninitiated who still cook with box wine or turned wine.  She gives a great overview of what types and regions to gather wines and vermouths from for the recipes as well as the necessity for those flavor profiles to make a dish great.  A brief, but excellent, overview of wine pairing is included as well, and 50+ years later, still remains true as a solid foundation to understanding wine and food pairings.

Note: The recipes herein are not for someone who is in a rush.  These are not 30-minute meals, although, many parts (all indicated in each recipe) can be done ahead of time and stored to make the process of making an incredible meal appear short or easy when entertaining.  It is stressed (and rightly so) that you cannot combine steps or skimp on the quality of ingredients or the outcome will suffer.

It is our belief that this book is as essential to any home kitchen as a frying pan, sauce pot, or utensils are.  You can find or request a copy in most fine cooking stores or buy online here.